The Suzuki Board

2022/2023 Directors

Takao Mizushima – President

Takao Mizushima is a graduate of the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

He graduated in December 1980, when Dr Suzuki was active in both teaching students and training teachers. Takao received his teacher training first hand from Dr Suzuki and applied it to cello teaching. He taught cello at the Talent Education Research Institute for seven years. After migrating to Australia in 1988, he settled in Sydney and contributed to the establishment of the Suzuki cello program.

Takao has been teaching students and conducting teacher training at Suzuki workshops, both nationally and internationally in Japan, Korea, New Zealand and US. He is Suzuki Cello Teacher Trainer in the Suzuki Talent Education Association of Australia (NSW).


Haruo Goto – Vice President (Teacher)

Haruo Goto is a respected Suzuki teacher and teacher trainer who migrated to Australia in 1988 after studying with Dr Shinichi Suzuki and graduating from the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

Haruo has a large studio in Sydney and teaches regularly at workshops around Australia, also giving master classes and teacher training in New Zealand, Japan and Europe.






Jin Takamura – Vice President (Ordinary)

Jin is a Senior Service Manager serving the Australia’s Real-Time Payments System, OSKO, and a father of two musicians who study under Haruo Goto’s and Bart Kenis’ guidance. Having his degree in Computer Science, Jin has been taking part in the administration of Suzuki Music NSW since 2019 as the Database Administrator.  He has designed, developed, and is currently maintaining the Suzuki Music NSW Member Portal.

As a committed member, Jin enjoys bringing his musicians to as many opportunities as the Suzuki community offers to them, whether it be locally or regionally around Sydney, interstate, overseas such as NZ, Japan, Europe, and beyond!  He also enjoys witnessing the young musicians progress and develop their confidence in producing beautiful sound and music, through the Suzuki workshops and events.

As the Vice President of the Board of Directors, Jin wishes to help the Suzuki community offer more opportunities led by our proud Suzuki Teachers, for our future musicians to foster their ability to play their instruments beautifully.

Jin was born in Japan and is fluent in Japanese and English.  He has lived in Japan, USA, Singapore, and Australia.

Braxton Neate – Company Secretary

Braxton Neate completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University where he studied cello under Mei-Lee and Markus Stocker and string pedagogy with Elizabeth Morgan AM, obtaining a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Studies in cello performance.

Braxton first came into contact with Talent Education when he read Dr Suzuki’s book Nurtured by Love during his studies. He found the book very moving and Dr Suzuki’s mission resonated with him deeply. Braxton started training as a Suzuki teacher in 2010 with Belinda Manwaring and continues under the guidance of Takao Mizushima since relocating to Sydney in 2019. Together with his wife Riri Matsuyama (violin), he now has a busy Suzuki studio in the North Shore area.

Braxton has previously served on the STEAA and AUSTA committees in Queensland and was the Vice President (Teacher) of STEAA (NSW) from 2020-2021.

Carolyn Zhu – Treasurer

Carolyn is the founder and managing director of ATF Professionals, a public practice accounting firm. She has 18 years of broad experience in tax compliance and business consulting services. Her background in financial accounting, taxation and investments has enabled her to serve hundreds of business clients in various industries.

Carolyn is a fellow of IPA, registered tax agent, registered ASIC and Justice of the Peace. She has been a proud Suzuki parent for 10 years.



Jodie Li

Jodie Li has been teaching Suzuki violin in Cheltenham for 25 years, SECE for 10 years and more recently viola.

After graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium as a musicology major, then working in preschools in China for 5 years, Jodie realised Suzuki method was the perfect way to follow her passion for teaching young children and music.

Her two children, aged 13 & 16 years both learn Suzuki violin with Haruo Goto and Suzuki piano with Bart Kenis. Her son, Timothy graduated violin level 12 last year.

Jodie has a studio of about 50 students, runs 3 group lessons per week and has co-ordinated and run mini workshops such as Viola Days and more recently, a Violin Boot Camp at the Suzuki Institute, Thornleigh.

She is keen to see Suzuki method music & philosophy continue to thrive in NSW and also nurture the next generation of Suzuki teachers, students, and families.

Valerie Gutenev-Hale

Valerie is passionate about the Suzuki philosophy and is eager to contribute to the evolution of the NSW Suzuki Association. She brings her legal background from over 10 years working as a lawyer in corporate and government sectors.

She also brings her strategic thinking that she developed working in the Federal and State government, for the last 7 years working in the NSW Department of Education developing early childhood education policy and evaluating early childhood education programs.

Valerie plays the violin, having started learning in Ukraine where she was born. The passion for the Suzuki way was ignited in Valerie in the first Suzuki Early Childhood Music class of Alina Gollner that she attended with her then 7 month old. Now her children are 3 and 7 and both learn violin with Jennifer Taylor – the two sides to the Suzuki triangle, Valerie constantly learning how to be the third.

As an active Suzuki parent, Valerie brings that experience to the Board including her desire to support and grow the Suzuki parent community.

Masaki Nakamura

Masaki Nakamura began learning violin at the age of six from his father, Yasuki Nakamura, and later from Harold Brissenden through the Suzuki method.

He obtained his A Mus A and L Mus A Diplomas (AMEB) as a teenager.

After temporarily departing the music world to complete a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Sydney, Masaki returned to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to continue his musical training with Geotz Richter at the Sydney Conservatorium, where he was awarded the Nancy Gillespie Scholarship.

As an orchestral performer, he has experienced notable performances at Carnegie Hall (New York), Albert Hall (London), Ohji Hall (Tokyo), The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and all around Australia.

Juggling teaching and performing, Masaki has also been writing his own compositions and performing them throughout Japan as an artist.

He has collaborated and performed with top professional performers in Japan, including Terumasa Hino, Jun Fukamachi, Go Nakajima, and many more, crossing over all genres of music.

As a Suzuki raised and trained teacher, he is in high demand to teach both locally and internationally in workshops and conferences.

With over 30 years’ experience in teaching and working with children, he has taught in New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Japan and all throughout Australia.

Masaki resides in Balmain with his wife Laura McDonald and their children Beatrice, Dylan and Charlie.

Masaki has always believed in the Suzuki philosophy that all children are born with the potential to develop their musical ability to a high level. By giving them the best teaching and nurturing environment, and through music, we can bring up people with beautiful hearts and minds.

Pak-Luan Yeoh

Pak-Luan is an investment professional, with more than 20 years’ experience, developing a keen understanding of business and industry and having a strong financial and governance background. She currently works as a Practitioner in Finance at the University of Sydney Business School. Pak-Luan is qualified as a CFA Charterholder and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Pak-Luan has volunteered as a board member of the Australian Parents Council and has also been a volunteer at the CFA Institute. In her spare time, she enjoys learning the violin along with her daughter, jogging and reading.

Pak-Luan joined the board of Suzuki because she would like to see many more people benefit from the Suzuki method. She believes that learning a musical instrument from any age, particularly a young age, helps a person develop patience, persistence, sensitivity and become a better human being. As Dr Suzuki wrote, “character first, ability second”.